STS OPENING CEREMONY ACADEMIC YEAR 2020-2021 – HOMILY –

STS OPENING CEREMONY
Saturday 24th October 2020
- HOMILY -

Fr Emanuele Vezzoli sdb
Vice-Provincial (MOR)

Theology is a knowledge of God, and that is a great deal more than a
knowledge about God. You are called to study God in order to understand
creation and you are invited to contemplate creation in order to find God.
This kind of knowing requires faith and it is filled with love; it is actually an
intimate knowledge of God in our own lives. Such intimacy described in
today’s Gospel as “My Father will love you, and we will come to you and
make our dwelling with you” is not only opens our intelligence to God but
also to ourselves and to creation. If there is not this divine liturgy of love
within ourselves, all other liturgies we perform are simply something that
may mask a void.
So theology is not simply Fides quaerens intellectum, (according
to St. Anselm’s definition of theology) but also fides querens cor.
Theology engages the mind as well as the heart. In this way theology
becomes an expression of our passion for God, the Triune and personal
God dwelling within us, and for the people to whom we are sent. Commit
your mind, commit your heart to it because: “What you are is God's gift to
you, what you make of yourself is your gift to God and to the young.”
Studying theology is a way to become a gift.
God’s dwelling within you will raise more questions than you could have
imagined. Let them surface even if they are disturbing. Theology has to
break you down (your faith, your God, your ideology) and then build you up
again.
Do whatever it takes, because if at the end of these four years your faith
(both as fides quae - faith in something- and fides qua - what one has faith
in) has not changed, what a waste.

All theology is pastoral and with this I mean to say that we study “knowing
God”, for the purpose of living (and dying).
It is one thing to know that God saves. It is another matter to know God
saves me in the events of my life. That God saves is a fact, realization that
God saves me in my history is astonishing and life transforming. Theology
for the sake of theology is irrelevant and unnecessary, theology for the
sake of marks (and of ego) is pointless and narcissistic. Theology for the
sake of those God is sending you to, is necessary and crucial. What
people, and particularly the young, want to perceive within your speech and
liturgies, within your lives, is not your void, and not your God, but the God
revealed by Jesus of Nazareth, that God who in this very land pitched his
tent.
Do not forget that to study theology in this Land is a unique opportunity and
gift. And because you give what you have and you cannot give what you do
not have, again I invite you to commit yourselves. In this journey you are
not alone: the Father, through the Son, sends you his Spirit: “He will teach
you everything and remind you of all that I told you.” He will send you his
Wisdom. St. Seraphim of Sarov says: “Our faith is not based on words of
earthly wisdom but on the manifestation of the power of the Spirit” and
“Acquiring the Spirit of God is therefore the true goal of our Christian life”,
“It is necessary that the Holy Spirit enters our heart. Everything good that
we do, that we do for Christ, is given to us by the Holy Spirit”.
It is thanks to the Paraclete that we are be able to penetrate the meaning of
the Word of Jesus and to appropriate it existentially, renewing it in the
world of today helping us understand the needs and values of the present
time. The Gospel is always the Gospel and faith is always faith but how can
we understand them as coming from the Spirit, for the people of our time.
Dear Brothers, dear Professors I wish you all a fruitful and Spirit-filled
academic journey!

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